Types of Drinking Water Supply in Ireland

Though the regulations specify two types of supply (“Public” and “Private”), in practice there are a number of different categories of drinking water supply in Ireland. These categories are listed below:

(A) Public Water Supplies (PWS)

Public Water Supplies are now operated by Irish Water.

(B) Group Water Schemes (GWS)

A Group Water Supply Scheme involves the piping of water from a single source by two or more householders to their homes, farms and other premises. All such schemes would be registered as Group Water Schemes with Sligo County Council. These schemes are privately owned and operated independent of the County Council. They usually serve rural areas. They are divided into two types, Private Group Water Schemes and Public Group Water Schemes. 

‘Private’ Group Water Schemes (PrGWS)

These schemes are fully private, where the owners of the scheme (usually representatives of the local community) source and distribute their own water.

‘Public’ Group Water Schemes (PubGWS)

These schemes are part-private, where the drinking water is provided by the Local Authority but the responsibility for distribution of the water rests with the Group Scheme. These Schemes tend to be provided off large Public Water Supplies. 

(C) Small Private Water Supplies (SPS)

This is a group of different types of supply, either supplies serving greater than 50 persons or producing greater than 10m3 water per day which has not been formally set up as a group water scheme, or they may be supplies which serve less than 50 persons or produce less than 10m3 water per day and supply water as part of a public or commercial activity. 

(D) Unregulated Drinking Water Supplies (Exempted Supplies)

Unregulated drinking water supplies are individual supplies providing less than 10m3 of water per day or serving fewer than 50 persons and do not have a public or commercial activity associated with them. Sligo County Council has produced an information leaflet for owners of unregulated supplies. This leaflet provides information on how to protect you unregulated supply.
Keeping your Unregulated Water Supply Safe (Information leaflet) (PDF) - 640 kbs